Okay, I'm starting to feel like that guy Colmes on Hannity and Colmes. You know the guy. The "liberal" who is basically so meek and so into finding common ground with the Right that he is essentially a non-entity on the show?
Here's the thing. Maybe I need to do a better job of being a liberal, and of making the case for why being a Capital L Liberal is NOT the same as being on The Left. Case in point: Pacifica Radio. I have sat through so many hours of certifiably insane--and unchallenged--conspiracy theories, including the old chestnut that thousands of Jews did not show up to work on 9/11, that my blood boils.
I get so worked up about the nonsense opinion that passes for news over at the Fox News Channel, when the Left has is its very own counterpart in Pacifica Radio. It is embarrassing to have the term Liberal associated with Pacifica, just as most Conservatives should be embarrassed to be associated with Fox News.
The impetus for this rant is the recent interview with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. I offer the following transcript for your review of the fawning, unquestioning acceptance of everything he says, along with some seriously unjournalistic bootlicking:
MARGARET PRESCOD: Mr. President, on behalf of KPFK, Pacifica Radio in Southern California, welcome to the United States. We have been waiting for this moment. Many people in the United States have been shocked at the racism they have witnessed against low income people in New Orleans and the other gulf cities and we wonder how Venezuelans view what has happened. And also you are clearly working to unite people of color throughout the world. You are the first Latin American president we know of who identifies as black and indigenous, and this breaks a long tradition of racism in the Americas. You’ve also identified with the people of Haiti who are fighting to defeat a brutal coup against their president how crucial do you think the defeat of all racism is to making the fundamental economic and social changes needed to save the world from the destruction of the market?
UAN GONZALEZ: Mr. President, welcome. Bien venido a los Estados Unidos. Your democratic revolution has a different aspect to it, in that your rich in oil, and the world badly needs oil. What do you do in Latin America to use oil as a weapon to assist the poor. Can you tell us a little more about what you are offering to the communities of the United States who are also suffering from high oil prices.
AMY GOODMAN: And televangelist Pat Robertson, his call for your assassination. What do you demand now, what is your response to that?
PRESIDENT HUGO CHAVEZ: Well as a matter of fact, Robertson is not acting alone. He’s just conveying, in a perhaps desperate manner, the thinking of those people closer to Mr. Bush. This is the voice of the most radical - of the extreme right wing in the U.S., I am totally convinced that is the situation with Mr. Robertson. And as you can see, so far there has been no reaction by the U.S. government in this regard. There’s nothing being said about these terrorist remarks that is in full breach of international law and breaches the laws of the United States.
But it’s not only Mr. Robertson here. For some time, for some months, people who participated in a coup attempt in Venezuela and are living here in the United States. And from TV stations in this country these people are calling for my assassination. A week ago, in another TV show, people in uniform, in fatigues, like terrorists. Venezuelans and Americans and Cubans exiled in the United States, and a former agent of the CIA, very recently said on TV that Chavez should be dead already...
Where are the follow-up questions?!! For instance, Pat Robertson's comments breach no international laws. He's a talking head, a minister, but he's not a head of state, not an officeholder, not an army general. He can say anything he wants to, however ridiculous and insane it makes him look to the general populace. In addition, they did not ask President Chavez to acknowledge that, at least here in the US, people also have the right to publicly respond to and disparage Pat Robertson and the government. How would this situation play out in his home country? What do the average Venezuelans really think of his administration as they are still in poverty despite being the fifth largest global oil supplier? Would they be afraid to express that opinion? This is a man whose record on human rights is, at best, shady (See the OAS' Inter-American Commission on Human Rights report for proof).
So what we have is a "liberal" radio network, supposedly committed to issues like human rights, drooling all over a ruthless dictator (however "democratically elected") simply because he hates George Bush?!
Pacifica? Hardly. More like "Hypocritica."